Slowing Growth to Improve Animal Welfare

Poultry engineered to quickly grow freakishly large is a big welfare problem in animal agriculture. So it was good news when Global Animal Partnership (GAP), a third-party animal welfare rating system for food, recently announced that it will require slower growth-rate genetics for all chickens raised under its program. GAP is also implementing growth limits for turkeys. In addition to slowing growth, GAP will be requiring that chickens certified by its program receive more space and environmental enrichments, such as perches and natural light.

Growth limits for GAP turkeys have already gone into effect, and GAP will phase in slower-growing breeds of chickens over the next eight years. More than 600 chicken farms, raising 277 million chickens each year, currently participate in GAP. The first US animal welfare food certification program to establish limits for the growth of birds—Animal Welfare Approved—was founded and originally administered by AWI. AWI had urged GAP to likewise adopt this very important improvement.

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